When a woman has an unexpected pregnancy, the more information she has, the more empowered she becomes. Choice is empowering. Pregnancy resource centers (formerly crisis pregnancy centers) offer true choice to women who may be thinking of an abortion. They make sure these women have all the information they need before making one of the most important decisions of their lives. Hope Pregnancy Center in Flagstaff, Arizona, offers just that: hope guided by education. Hope operates on a small staff, volunteers, and receives funding from private donors. Adoption.com interviewed Founder and Current Executive Director, Roseanna Tarr; Nurse Manager, Karina Fenderson; and Client Services Coordinator, Heather Lady.
Adoption.com: How long has Hope Pregnancy Resource Center been in business? What was the original vision for this ministry?
Hope: Hope Pregnancy Resource Center offers their services free of charge to women with unplanned pregnancies. Founded as Birthright of Coconino County, we started out working in a parking lot then moved into a one-room office and now have our own building in Flagstaff. We have been in business since 1977 and changed its name to Hope Crisis Pregnancy Center in 1997 until we then finally settled on its current name in 2015. Our vision was to provide a positive alternative for “abortion-minded” women.
Adoption.com: What services do you provide?
Hope: We provide free pregnancy tests to women who are in their first trimester of pregnancy and limited obstetric ultrasounds free of charge. These ultrasounds give a clear picture of the unborn child growing within them. Nearly 78% of all women who see their baby on an ultrasound choose to bring their baby to term. We also offer Limited Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) tests, free of charge. Many women are unaware they have these STIs but become aware of it for the first time at Hope.
“Earn While You Learn” is one of our education services. This is a program where clients can help themselves to items such as car seats, cribs, formula, etc, simply by watching videos that help to educate them on such things as prenatal care, infant/child development, etc.
We also have an impressive library of books, videos, and pamphlets that educate women on various topics such as post-abortion syndrome, abstinence, STIs, aftereffects of abortion, relationships, etc. We also offer baby clothes and diapers free of charge.
Lastly, our center offers pregnancy options counseling, post-abortion counseling, and referral services to other organizations that may be able to assist women in crisis.
Adoption.com: What population do you serve?
Hope: We serve all women ages 13 and up. Hope is the only pregnancy resource center between Flagstaff and the Utah border. There have been grandmothers who come in to find items for their grandchildren. Hope offers their services for free and does not take any government assistance.
Adoption.com: What are some of the situations these women find themselves in?
Hope: Women visit Hope because there is “nowhere else to go.” Some of these women are pregnant and in crisis. Some women are “abortion-minded,” meaning, they are considering having an abortion and are in search of additional information. Some have had abortions and are regretting their decision and are in grief and need counseling. Others have had babies and need physical assistance.
Adoption.com: What percentage of your clients follow through on abortion?
Hope: Abortion-minded women who enter our clinic have about a 75 percent rate of carrying pregnancy. Our abortion-vulnerable clients rate would be around 99 percent that we know of as we are unable to contact some of them afterwards, so we are unsure of the exact number. However, there are quite a few “abortion-minded” women who visit Hope not knowing the effects an abortion will have on them as well as their babies. The vast majority of these women who are considering taking RU-486—also known as the “abortion pill”—which can be taken up to ten weeks during pregnancy. What they don’t know is that there is a reversal pill, which can reverse the effects if taken within three days of the abortion pill. There have been 300 babies saved nationwide through the reversal pill.
Adoption.com: What percentage choose to keep their babies?
Hope: About 75% of all women who enter Hope choose to carry their babies to term. These women will either choose to keep and raise their babies or choose to place their babies in a loving adoptive family. When a woman wants to place her child for adoption, we refer her to one of the local adoption agencies in the area.
Adoption.com: Tell us of some success stories.
Hope: Once, a call came in through the helpline, and a woman was thinking of an abortion. After we told this gal of some of our services, she told us: “I think I just wanted to hear one person say one good thing about this pregnancy because nobody was encouraging me.” She had to call long distance, out of town, to talk to a perfect stranger to find out it was okay to have a baby. On another occasion, we had a pregnant woman come into the clinic who had two previous abortions. After spending a little time here and receiving education, she decided to have and keep her baby!
Adoption.com: What is your vision for the future?
Hope: We would like to be able to offer a mentoring program to young men, but do not have space at this time. We would also like to have services on the Navajo Reservation.
Hope Pregnancy Resource Center does not take any government funding but depends on private donations to operate. Hope is a private, nonsectarian, 501-c-3. Hope provides a safe place for women to go when they have nowhere else to turn. It is a place where women go, not to be judged, but to be loved—where they will not feel pressured but empowered. Where they will be able to make an educated decision for the life of their baby. True choice. True love. True hope.
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Are you considering placing a child for adoption? Not sure what to do next? First, know that you are not alone. Visit PregnancyHotline.org or call 1-800-GLADNEY and speak to one of our Options Counselors to get compassionate, nonjudgmental support. We are here to assist you in any way we can.